Rafael Brandao

IFBB Pro Bodybuilder

With an aesthetic physique and a rising career in the IFBB circuit, Rafael Brandao has all of the traits of a successful bodybuilder. After winning his Pro Card in 2016, Rafael took the IFBB league by storm, taking 8th place in his debut at the 2017 San Marino Pro.

However, while he’s a successful bodybuilder now, Rafael’s life wasn’t always centered around weightlifting. Growing up, Rafael struggled to gain weight due to his fast metabolism. In fact, his peers often teased him because of his skinny frame.

Eventually, Rafael became ‘fed up’ with being skinny and decided to take the matter into his own hands. He joined a gym and started training with heavy compound exercises. Although he didn’t know much about training at first, entering the gym was Rafael’s first step towards greatness.

Here’s his story:


Athlete Statistics

Full Name: Rafael Brandao
245 - 255lbs (111.1 - 115.7kg)5'11" (180cm)52cm78cm
AgeDate of BirthNationality
30June 24, 1993Brazilian
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder2010
Weight245 - 255lbs (111.1 - 115.7kg)
Height5'11" (180cm)
Date of BirthJune 24, 1993
ProfessionIFBB Pro Bodybuilder



Bodybuilding Competitions


  • San Marino Pro, IFBB Men’s, 8th place


  • New York Pro, IFBB Men’s, 6th place
  • California State, IFBB Men’s, 3rd place



Early Life of Rafael Brandao

Rafael was born and raised in Garça, a small city in Brazil. While today, Rafael boasts one of the most famous bodybuilding physiques in Brazil, he wasn’t always big and strong.

In fact, Rafael looked completely different growing up. He was skinny and had an extremely fast metabolism. This made it hard for him to put on weight despite eating lots of food.

However, despite this, Rafael believed he had good genetics. In his eyes, the right training program was all that he needed to start his transformation from slim to strong – he was correct.

“I was thin, but I always had good genetics and I believed that a stimulus was enough to start growing. And that’s exactly what happened.”



Growing in His Physique

Eventually, Rafael decided that the best course of action for him to gain weight would be to join the gym.

Starting his journey as a 55kilogram teenager, he took on a basic strength training program which saw him quickly gain muscle mass.

Within only a few months, Rafael’s body improved dramatically. Because of his quick progress, Rafael became infatuated with weight training.

Taking on a New Challenge

As Rafael’s physique grew, so did his enthusiasm with bodybuilding. Eventually, this saw him become interested in bodybuilding shows.

At 20 years old, after months of researching competitive bodybuilding, Rafael decided to step on the stage for the first time in his life.

Three months later, Rafael’s competition day came. After countless hours in the gym and strict dieting, he was ready to test his physique against other competitors.

From the moment he appeared on the stage that day, Rafael realized bodybuilding was his calling. He never looked back since then.


Rafael Brandao’s 5-year bodybuilding transformation.


Progress on the Stage

After his competitive debut, Rafael wasted no time. He started preparing for more challenging shows, aiming at becoming a professional bodybuilder.

Eventually, Rafael’s dreams came true. His efforts and dedication to bodybuilding have eventually earned him the place among the elite bodybuilders of the IFBB Pro Circuit.

“Bodybuilding has changed my life and for the better, I am a more determined and responsible person. I’m another Rafael.”

Pro Career

Rafael’s Pro debut came in 2017, where he finished in 8th place at the IFBB San Marino Pro.

He improved his result by two places at the 2018 New York Pro (6th overall), before finishing in 3rd place at the IFBB California State Bodybuilding competition.



“A unique sensation of taking the stage for the first time, myself and 35 more guys. I was confident. Can’t describe it. Seeing my parents crying and supporting me, it was incredible; the result of a job well done.”


Rafael’s Training Program

As a professional bodybuilder, Rafael trains multiple times per day to keep his physique strong and lean. Specifically, he does cardio in the morning, and weight training later in the day.

His favorite forms of cardio are treadmill running or long walks in the park. As for his favorite exercises, they include anything that gets him “sweating.” Such as heavy barbell bench presses and squats.



Workouts For Different Body Parts


(4 to 5 sets of 8 to 15 reps)

  • Triceps pulley
  • Rope Extensions with bench support
  • Triceps Dumbbell overhead press
  • French Press


(4 to 5 sets of 8 to 15 reps)

  • 21’s
  • Alternate seated biceps curls
  • Zottman Curls
  • Rope Hammer Curls


(4 to 5 sets of 8 to 15 reps)

  • Lateral cable raises
  • Lateral dumbbell raises
  • Reverse flys on the bench
  • Front Raises


(6 sets to failure)

  • Standing calf raises
  • Calf press on the leg press machine
  • Seated calf raises


Rafael Brandao with Jay Cutler, a four-time Mr. Olympia.


Rafael Brandao’s Meal Plan

Rafael follows a diet high in protein and complex carbs. Specifically, he prioritizes foods such as lean chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, and oats, which help him to maintain high energy levels and build lean muscle.

Rafael’s daily meal plan;

1st meal

  • 150g of oats
  • 12 egg whites
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 bananas

2nd meal 

  • 500g of sweet potatoes
  • 250g of chicken

3rd meal 

  • 500g rice
  • 250g of meat

4th meal 

  • 500g of sweet potatoes
  • 250g of chicken

5th meal 

  • 500g rice
  • 250g of chicken

6th meal

  • 1 avocado
  • 300g of meat

Rafael’s Supplementation

  • Omega 3: 6 capsules daily
  • Chromium picolinate: 10 capsules daily
  • Vitamin C: 2g daily
  • Whey protein: 60g post-workout
  • BCAA: 80g daily
  • Glutamine: 80g daily
  • Energy and Performance Stimulant: 2 capsules per day
  • Caramel Oil: 3 capsules daily
  • Leucine: 10g daily
  • Multivitamin: 4 capsules daily
  • Weight control supplement: 20g per day
  • Vitamin B Complex: 1 capsule daily
  • Mass Gainer (Only when ‘bulking’): 4 scoops a day
  • L-carnitine: 4 capsules daily
  • Chitosan: 4 capsules daily


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Idols and Influences

One of the people who helped Rafael prepare for his first bodybuilding show was Júlio Balestrin, his first trainer. 

While Rafael already had a developed training routine at the time, Júlio helped him create an improved meal plan. Ultimately, this helped Rafael take his physique to a new level, securing him high places in bodybuilding contests.

Here’s Rafael talking about his first coach, Júlio; “He gave me the correct instructions and after three months, I went up on stage for the first time. 

Before I met him, I had no knowledge of what to eat and I only ate sweet potatoes and chicken. He facilitated my diet by introducing new foods that could replace what I already ate.” – Rafael Brandao


What we can learn from Rafael Brandao

If your goal is to look big and aesthetic both at the same time, then Rafael Brandao is the man to follow. With huge arms and shoulders, and a small waist, he boasts one of the most famous physiques in Brazil’s bodybuilding scene.

However, in order to reach his level, Rafael had to work extremely hard. His results didn’t come overnight.

Knowing the correct training protocols, as well as the right methods for dieting and supplementation, is all key if you want to achieve huge and aesthetic muscles like Rafael Brandao.


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One of my favorite present day bodybuilders as a classic mass with class physique. Hope you, Brandao take some top places in competitions in the future

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